What Hulu’s Product Announcements Tell Us About the Future of TV

By Patrick Hanavan  | 

TV networks aren’t the only ones making their pitch to advertisers during the annual “upfront” buying spree. Some new product announcements by streaming company Hulu offer an intriguing glimpse of where the video and TV ad industry are heading when it comes to themes like interactivity, live programming and measurement. Here are some examples of what Hulu’s announcements tell us about the increasing overlap between digital and traditional content.

The biggest news from Hulu’s 2017 pitch to advertisers is its plan to offer a live streaming TV service to complement its existing on-demand digital offering. Viewers will get access to 50 channels for around $40 per month, while also opening up new avenues for Hulu to sell ad space to marketers. Hulu isn’t the first to offer such a service — in fact, YouTube announced a similar live TV offering back in February. While each service has benefits, the real story for advertisers is the growing accessibility of live TV (and the related ad opportunities) that these products create for marketers. It’s likely that these kinds of “live” digital ad buys will become increasingly important as more consumers shift their viewing to non-TV devices.

Another important piece of Hulu’s new product rollout is its creation of a new “shoppable” ad unit, creating a new venue for advertisers to boost instant purchases of lower-cost items like movie tickets and retail items. While interactive ads have been tested in the past, it’s only in the last few years that the technology infrastructure for better targeting and seamless payments has matured to the point where these two-way ads can truly thrive. Considering the growing importance of these interactive ad units on other digital ad platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, the timing seems ripe for more TV and video advertisers to experiment with the format.

Finally, Hulu’s upfront pitch highlighted new opportunities for advertisers to better target and measure consumer engagement as the company’s viewers move between different devices. The streaming company is partnering with media agencies GroupM, Magna and Horizon on a new Digital Ad Ratings Solution, which will make it easier for advertisers to pinpoint consumers and measure success for viewers’ as they consume Hulu content across various screens. That’s great news for advertisers, who have long struggled to create effective cross-device campaigns.

As Hulu’s new product rollout demonstrates, the future of the streaming video experience is evolving rapidly. No longer is it enough to write off ad campaigns on connected TV platforms as a niche buying opportunity. Thanks to new interactivity options, new live TV experiences that mimic traditional broadcast and new targeting opportunities, the future success of this shifting medium is increasingly interconnected with the fortunes of its TV counterparts.

Recommended Posts